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Top 3 SHMUPS (Top 3 Tuesday)

SHMUPS: they’re neither candy nor some weird Asian bird flu derivative! ‘SHMUP’ is Internet shorthand for “shoot ’em up”, a genre of game where you pilot a person or craft through a series of auto-scrolling stages destroying everything in sight to earn power-ups so you can destroy everything in sight even faster. In other words, they’re video game adaptations of my morning commute to the RGM office. And in this week’s Top 3 Tuesday video, MichaelBtheGameGenie wants to know which three SHMUPS are our favorites. He asks and I respond with the only 60FPS, 4k resolution article you’re likely to see on the subject this week. PROTIP: Blink really fast while reading to simulate sprite flicker if you’re looking for added realism, and click those titles to access video of the game in action!

Scrums, mauls and rucks aplenty on the STEEM emulator.

Word Class Rugby: Five Nations Edition Retrospective

Yes folks, way back before Italy joined the tournament and turned it into the Six Nations, we had a cracking rugby game for the Atari ST. Audiogenic made a game that still plays exceptionally well today, and they even get marks for creating a nice chip tune! (Much as I loved the ST, the chip music was usually something to be endured rather than enjoyed… but then this was composed by the legendary David Whittaker…)

The World of Micro Machines

Micro Machines Logo

Micro Machines Logo

Well when I was a kid many moons ago, Micro Machines were introduced to the world. They were produced by Galoob (now part of Hasbro) and were tiny die cast model cars. I knew people who had them and there was many of them. All great choking hazard sized auto mobiles of varying types and sizes.

However I spent more time with Micro Machines when Codemasters wrote their video game on the NES in 1991. Nintendo would not give them an official license so they released the cartridge through a company called Camerica.

I don’t think I am alone in this as the games were as successful as the toy range if not further reaching.

Micro Machines is a top down racing game. Where you drive various Micro Machines types from sports cars to helicopters and tanks around various environments. These ranged from Kitchen tops to Pool tables and much more.

The game allowed up to two players. In one player mode you had the challenge mode which pitted you against 3 computer AI players of your choice. Every three rounds one would be eliminated. Finish either first or second to progress to the next race or you lose one of three lives.

Each round you would use a particular vehicle from the collection, shown in a display case. Win three rounds in a row and you got to drive the Ruff Trux monster truck and if you completed the stage you gained an extra life.

Apparently in some of the original carts a bug meant you could not complete the game.

In two player mode you were pitted head to head around tracks you both start with four points and score a point by getting a full screen scroll ahead of the other player. If you got eight points you won. You could compete in either a single race or a tournament where the first to win 4 rounds of eight won.

It proved to be a lucrative property and thus it was put on many formats such as the Amiga, right across most consoles including the Phillips CDi.

Micro Machines 2 in 1994 improved on the formula allowing 4 players adding more vehicles such hover crafts and courses. The Genesis(Mega Drive) did this using a system called the J-Cart which had allowed two controllers to be plugged into the cartridge. The PC version and the Turbo Tournament ‘96 Edition for Sega Genesis had a track construction kit.

Micro Machines 3 added 3D graphics of characters and vehicles but it was still viewed from the top down. More vehicles were added including ice cream vans and more which could be unlocked. The game now included a Time Trial mode which was racing against the clock rather than another player.

The N64 version allowed up to 8 players using a pad share system where your cars accelerated automatically and you steered them with the d-pad or the c-buttons depending which side of the pad you were on.

Micro Machines 4 in 2006 extended the formula again adding over 25 tracks, 750 vehicles and a track editor. The track editor however was not in the Nintendo DS or Sony PSP versions.

Then for a long while Micro Machines seemed to fall out of favour. In 2016 a mobile version of Micro Machines was made for iOS and Android devices. It had race modes and a Battle mode (sponsored by Nerf) the game had in-app purchases and its own in-house currency.

However last month Codemasters announced the return of the Micro Machines franchise in the form Micro Machine World Series which will be available for PC, PS4 and Xbox One. It is due out on April 21st 2017. It’s once again in 3D but this time it does not seem as if it will be from a top down perspective.

So it seems the Micro Machines games are on their way back. Will this lead to more in the franchise? We will just have to wait and see.

Harvest Moon 64 Returns on Wii U Virtual Console

Fans of Harvest Moon 64 have plenty of reason to rejoice this week! At least the European fans do, as it has been announced that the Wii U Virtual Console will finally receive Harvest Moon 64. After years of fans clamoring for Nintendo to release the game to no avail, it appears that the company has finally relented and decided to re-launch the game on February 23. For nearly two decades, the only legitimate way of playing Harvest Moon 64 was to purchase the rather expensive and rare cartridge for the N64. The best about all of this? We only have two more days until release!

Strange Games From the East: Homeland

Did you ever play Phantasy Star Online series on the GameCube? If you did, then you’ll perhaps be aware of their infamy as the only GameCube titles to use the broadband capabilities of the console. But what if I told you that this is not true? That a different title outside the PSO series exists, not only capable of using the GameCubes online capabilities, but also of using the console as a server itself. What if I told you that this game is titled Homeland? An extremely unique title for the GameCube, published and developed by Chunsoft. The same Chunsoft who created the first five games of the Dragon Quest series. Now you might be asking yourself, with a pedigree like that, how come almost nobody knows about Homeland?

Metal Man Remixed for ZX Spectrum Now Available as Free Download

Metal Man Remixed was initially developed for the ZX Spectrum as one of the reward options in the Kickstarter campaign for the ZX Spectrum: a visual compendium art book in 2015. The game’s developer, Oleg Origin, has now made the game available as a free download–so now you have no excuse to play this fantastic 8-bit game.

NBA Jam 2K17 Features Updated Roster Including Political and Additional NBA Stars

Fans of the NBA Jam series already know that this series liked to poke fun at not only the NBA but real life also. The pokes at the NBA are easily seen from literally having the character catch fire and the announcer claim “he is on fire,” and other literal representations. The original NBA Jam did not shy away from politics either. Neither does this fan hack of the Super Nintendo release, renamed NBA Jam 2K17.

Strange Games from the East: Mobile Suit Gundam: The Ace Pilot

Few series in the world have been as long lived as Mobile Suit Gundam. The epic space opera between the Earth Federation Forces and The Principality of Zeon. Theirs is a battle that will last an eternity, and is one that few anime fans haven’t at least heard in passing. Mobile Suit Gundam: The Ace Pilot was released in 2004 by Bandai on the Nintendo GameCube. The Ace Pilot promises all of the excitement, hardships, and experiences of being a gundam, packaged in a tiny GameCube disc. Did it keep its promise? Yes it did, but only if you consider the fact that being a gundam pilot involves an insane amount of difficulty and stress. But regardless of stress, and how challenging The Ace Pilot is, why did we never see a release in the West? Could Bandai have thought it was too challenging for us in the western hemisphere?

Nintendo Switch Shipped Early to Fan, Interface Shown off (Yeah, We Are Getting Excited over the User Interface)

The Nintendo Switch is quite a platform. I call it a platform because it is both a handheld and a home console, depending on how you are playing it. Nintendo is seemingly going in two directions here and it is setting the gaming world on fire. Well, the Switch is not yet available to fans (that comes in early March) but one lucky fan got his unit early–by about two weeks. What else do you do when you get something like this? Make a video showing off the user interface, of course.

Sega 32X Running on Nintendo NES Classic Mini Console

Okay, the Nintendo Classic Mini is getting more and more interesting. Hackers recently figured out how to add more games which was cool. Then we saw hackers showing off how to get even more games on the thing (shattering previously thought limitations of memory). Now we have a video of the Nintendo NES Classic Mini running games from one of Nintendo’s biggest competitors.


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